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Bridges of Leadership: Navigating Challenges with the Right Support | John’s Story (Part 3 of 3)

Jun 6, 2024
By Nikki Shingle

Categories: Leadership & Organizational Development

Bridges of Leadership: Navigating Challenges with the Right Support | John’s Story (Part 3 of 3)

After the devastating collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge earlier this year, we all have a new understanding of the vulnerability of bridges. We’ve also seen the warning signs – Caution: Bridge ices before road. Bridges are more susceptible to the elements for many reasons—they are essentially suspended in the air and exposed to impact on all sides.

As leaders, we are responsible for guiding our teams along the path that will take us from where we are to where we want to be. Sometimes this path will lead us across challenges we haven’t faced before or over obstacles that make us feel like one slip could sweep us off course. With the support of our team, we can typically see the way forward, but we are well aware that the risk of moving leaves us just a bit vulnerable.

In his recent interview with Gina Breslin on The North Group Podcast, John Gilliland, founder and CEO of Investment Real Estate, encouraged us to surround ourselves with the right kind of people. Throughout the conversation, John identified many who supported him as he navigated the challenges of building his successful business: his dad, who modeled tenacity and exposed him to an entrepreneurial spirit; his college fraternity that gave him purpose; and his board of advisors and executive coach, who helped him make critical decisions during adverse times.

Sometimes, through our professional journey, we find ourselves on a bridge, moving from our current reality to our desired future state, and we count on others to help us across. The individuals who support and influence us have a significant impact on our leadership. Best-selling author, psychologist, and leadership expert Dr. Henry Cloud shares in his book The Power of the Other that high-performing leadership is dependent upon relationships. Dr. Cloud encourages leaders to pursue relationships based on honesty, trust, and productive communications.

Who is in your life as you lead?

  • Mentors – Who in your life has crossed a similar bridge and can provide insight as you travel?
  • Guides — Who will serve as a guardrail to keep you on the path by speaking truth to you when you get distracted and lose your focus?
  • Encouragers — Who will hold you up like the strong tresses of the bridge when you feel that the odds are stacked against you and your desired future is out of reach?

John reminded us, “You are the average of the five people you hang around the most.” Surround yourself with those who will help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you aspire to be.

You can find Parts 1 and 2 of John’s story series linked below:

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